Each Movie Is A Building Block Toward A Filmmaking Career by Mark Harris

Film Courage: Back to your first film WHY MEN CHEAT in 2005, how did that movie’s success impact you getting your next film project off of the ground?

Mark Harris, Filmmaker: It was a while…my first time getting distribution for was a film was for a movie called BLACK BUTTERFLY. It was a film we made for less than $10,000. And eOne actually put that film out (eOne is a major company). A guy named Allen Blackwell saw the trailer. I sent him the trailer and he said I want this film! Then he did my first film WHY MEN CHEAT, I USED TO LOVE HER, HOLLA IF YOU HEAR ME. Those films from WHY MEN CHEAT we took that money and we invested it HOLLA IF YOU HEAR ME. We took that money and invested it into I USED TO LOVE HER. I USED TO LOVE HER, we did that film for like $3,500. And it was in like 10 film festivals.

When I went to the film festivals I didn’t just go there just to screen the film. When I would go there and would have DVDs made up. Honestly I wasn’t even thinking about distribution. I was just thinking about selling DVDs. And it wasn’t until BLACK BUTTERFLY when I said Okay, if I have to release this film on my own then I will do that.

What we did was I sent the trailer to Allen Blackwell at eOne. He said “I want that film.”

And then from that film we got distribution for HOLLA IF YOU HEAR ME. Because of the success of that film, with BLACK BUTTERFLY…eOne the first week had to reprint more DVDs because they had sold out in the stores (in Walmart and they were all sold out). So they had to rush and print more.

I told them Look I have an audience out there and what we want to do is we’re going to promote this film so you are going to have to print up more. I think they printed up 5,000 copies the first time which I understand they want to be safe and so the first week or so those were all gone.

Because of the success of BLACK BUTTERFLY we got distribution for I USED TO LOVE HER, then we got distribution for HOLLA IF YOU HIT ME from the success of that film.

Film Courage: And so you made it for $10,000? The one that was in Walmart?

Mark: Yes, it was for like $9,500. 

Film Courage: How many locations did you have?

Mark: We had a total of I think eight locations? But this is how we would do it. We would shoot on weekends because people worked, so we would shoot on weekends.

We would shoot a 12-hour day on Saturday and Sunday. On Friday what we would do is take one small scene and we would just shoot that scene and that’s how we got the film made. It was like 6 weeks.

Film Courage: So that’s how you were able to keep it [the budget] so low?…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).

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